Saturday, 30 January 2010

A future in art house cinema?

Or not. I've been having fun with Movie Maker. I recently watched something (that shall remain nameless) and was rather captivated by this scene. It was just so random. I mucked about with it and removed the obvious identifiers.

A pint to the first person who knows where this is from.

Blogger was arsing about... the video seems to be working now :)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Cheesy Update

So, I tried my queso blanco today. I'm not sure exactly how hard it's supposed to be, but mine was quite soft. It tasted great though. Very much like boursin - crumbly but spreadable. The pepper taste made it especially Boursin-ish. I'll definitely make this again.

Smell my cheese, you mother!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Squeaky cheese

I am a huge dairy fiend and recently got to eat proper cheddar cheese curds. They are amazingly tasty so I set about trying to find out how to make them. Turns out it's a bit tricky without complicated ingredients, but on my travels I found this recipe for Queso Blanco.

It looked ridiculously easy so I've given it a go. I changed the quantities of the recipe though, to suit those who don't eat a crazy amount of cheese:



1 litre whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice

I first heated the milk on a medium heat in a saucepan until it reached 185 degrees Fahrenheit (just before boiling).

Then added the lime juice to separate the curds and whey. This simmered for 2 minutes at the same medium temperature.

The cheese was then decanted into a cheesecloth-lined colander to drain the whey, and sprinkled with salt.

At this point you can add anything you like. I was going to add roasted red peppers, but I couldn't get the jar open, so I opted for just a sprinkle of black pepper.

The linen is then tied over the tap to drain for another four hours (or overnight).

I can't wait to try this later. I'm also keeping the drained off whey for making ricotta tomorrow :)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A year in the life...

2009 has been a pretty great year. It's hard to believe that I've been living in Canada for 12 months, yet I've packed more into those than the last few years combined.

This time last year I was celebrating Christmas and New Year with my family and friends back home, and preparing to go back to work at Birmingham University to finish off the last two weeks of my contract as a Distance Learning Manager. Come January 15th and my flat was empty, and I was packed ready to go.

When I arrived in Newfoundland it was late at night, and covered in snow. Arriving without a winter coat was soon to be regretted. Still, it's been lots of fun and here are a few features of my year.

Living in a province where the snow doesn't disappear until May takes a bit of getting used to. The discovery of the existence of snow pants and yaktrax made my life much more comfortable.

The view from our front door - this is the top of the steps

Cross country skiing is fun, if a little dangerous if you have no skills.

Back in April, when the UK was having a delightful Spring, the pack ice arrived. I have never seen anything like it, and I felt positively messianic walking on water.

I walk on water. Just wait till you see my other party tricks.

After the pack ice disappeared, the iceberg came. It was lodged in Quidi Vidi Harbour for a week or so, but this was as close as we got.

A trip to Bell Island saw some impressive icicles, and some nice cruziana fossils.

These are taller than me, but I have no scale.

In June we drove to Prince Edward Island to dig up worms for L's work. During the trip we witnessed such marvels as the World's Biggest Blueberry, the PEI Potato Museum, and a lot of Anne of Green Gables-related kitsch.

World's Biggest Blueberry, Nova Scotia

In July I returned home for the purposes of field work. I had the fun of driving a big white van from Birmingham to Croatia, where we experienced the worst weather in decades. Still, the archaeology was great!

Inside Diocletian's Mausoleum, Split

On my return to Newfoundland I had the opportunity to go excavating on Signal Hill. Being more of a non-invasive archaeologist, it was a treat to handle a trowel again.

In September an intrepid group went on a camping trip to the Baie Verte Peninsula. The main purpose of which was to see the amazing steatite quarry used by the palaeoekimos at Fleur-de-Lys a couple of thousand years ago.

This wasn't the only highlight, however, as we also discovered the bizarre abandoned town of Tilt Cove, which has a murky past...

In October I took a trip to Quebec City with some archaeological reprobates. Much fun was had and large quantities of hot chocolate and poutine were consumed, whilst trying to remember my schoolgirl French.

Chez AshTon, home of poutine

The Irish Loop was the next destination as L's parents came to visit. The highlight was Mistaken Point where we got to see incredible precambrian fossils, which are soon to become a World Heritage site.

Spindle fossil, Mistaken point

Winter returned with 39.6cm of snow falling in one day in early December. We warmed ourselves with a traditional feuerzangenbowle and gift swapping for St Nikolaus.

This was followed up by a Wassail party on the Solstice and then we took part in some Newfoundland Mummering, well, the parade at least, before spending our first Christmas abroad.

Any mummers 'loud in?

So, it's been an extremely memorable year, but now I find I have to return home earlier than expected. I'm going to find it hard to leave this place.